By Chadd Cripe
© 2009 Idaho Statesman
Boise State tailback Matt Kaiserman, a Skyview High graduate, says he might be more nervous for his Bronco Stadium debut Saturday against San Jose State than he was for his college debut last week at Hawaii.
Kaiserman rushed 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in Hawaii. He had missed the first six games because of a concussion.
“I’m glad for the opportunity,” he said of Saturday’s game. “I can’t wait.”
Kaiserman, a freshman, had a chance to play Oct. 14 at Tulsa. He didn’t get into that game and was told several times to be ready for the Hawaii game.
Kaiserman’s response to coaches: “Give me a chance.”
He got more than just a chance when tailback Doug Martin wasn’t able to play much because of a pulled muscle. Kaiserman earned first downs on three of his first four carries and carried on all 11 plays of the Broncos’ final drive.
“We were very happy for that and happy for him,” offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “He was probably the most excited guy I’ve seen in a long time after a game.”
Kaiserman hadn’t played in a competitive game in nearly three years. He grayshirted in 2007 and redshirted in 2008.
“It’s been a long road,” he said. “To sit out two years was incredibly tough.”
His role going forward is undetermined. The Broncos plan to stick with their two-tailback rotation and likely put together a small package of plays for the third tailback. So Kaiserman’s playing time likely will be sparse unless he can beat out Martin or Jeremy Avery.
The X-factor is injuries. Martin returns this week.
“To keep all those backs healthy at the same time is difficult,” Harsin said. “… When all those guys are ready to go, I don’t think we want to get back into the three-man rotation. It could be week to week through practice and competition, who are going to be 1 and 2.”
Kaiserman didn’t even tell his family that he expected to play against Hawaii. He didn’t want to “jinx it,” he said. That made for a nice reaction after the game.
“My phone froze up, dang near,” Kaiserman said. “My Facebook page was going crazy. Being able to call my parents and hear how proud they were was definitely an experience.”
It’s coach’s son vs. coach’s son Saturday with Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and San Jose State safety Tanner Burns.
Burns, a true sophomore, is the son of San Jose State defensive coordinator Keith Burns. He has 50 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions this season.
“Tanner has been a very pleasant surprise for us as somebody who hasn’t really played, because he’s made a ton of plays,” San Jose State coach Dick Tomey said.
Burns grew up hanging out at practices and wanting to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He plans to coach when he’s done playing.
“Football was always that passion that I had,” he said. “… I begged my mom to take me to practices when I was younger. That’s really how I learned the game of football.”
Burns lives at home, but what happens on the practice field stays there, he said.
“When (my dad) gets home we just have that father-son relationship,” Burns said. “He’s my best friend. It’s been that way since I can remember.”
Burns isn’t a physical force. He’s more like a Marty Tadman, using his knowledge and instincts to find the ball.
“If you see the ball (in a photo), my goal is you’ll see me in that picture frame,” he said.
He has learned through watching his father how difficult the coaching profession can be. Keith Burns, a former USC and Arkansas defensive coordinator, was fired as the head coach at Tulsa in 2002 and was on the Spartans staff when Fitz Hill was fired in 2004.
Still, his son is not deterred.
“When he was the head coach at Tulsa, those were rough times as a family,” Tanner Burns said. “We saw how that played out in the papers, on the radio, on TV. When it’s going good, it’s all the players. When it’s going bad, it’s all the coaches’ fault. That’s definitely something I’ll have to get adjusted to and I’m sure I’ll have him advise me on doing that.”